Place of birth: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Ms. Kebede stands at 5’10 Ft Tall. She speaks English & French.
Ethiopian supermodel Liya Kebede became this first woman of color in Estee Lauder’s 57-year history to sign a contract with the cosmetics giant.
She has a 3 million dollar a year for 3 years deal with Estee Lauder.
The Ethiopian model-turned-actress takes on the real-life role of model-turned-activist Waris Dirie in her new film. Dirie was sold in to marriage as a young girl in Somalia where genital mutilation was a common cultural practice.
In 2009, Kebede starred in the film-adaption of the bestselling autobiography Desert Flower by former supermodel Waris Dirie. The film recounts Dirie’s childhood in Somalia, her rise to stardom and subsequent awareness campaign against female circumcision. It premiered at the Venice Film Festival and received a standing ovation. Kebede has also had minor roles in The Good Shepherd(2006) and Lord of War (2005).
Liya Kebede is an maternal health advocate, clothing designer, and actress. Forbes identified her the eleventh-highest-paid top model in the world in 2007, and she has appeared three times on the cover of U.S. Vogue.
Kebede has served as the WHO’s Ambassador for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health since 2005.
Kebede has been seen on the covers of Italian, Japanese, American, French and Spanish Vogue, V, Flair, i-D and Time‘s Style & Design. She has been featured in ad campaigns including those for Shiatzy Chen, Gap,Yves Saint-Laurent, Victoria’s Secret, Emanuel Ungaro, Tommy Hilfiger, Revlon, Dolce & Gabbana, Escada and Louis Vuitton.
In 2003, Kebede was named the newest face of Estée Lauder cosmetics, the only Ethiopian to serve as their representative in the company’s 57-year history.Her contract was rumored to be worth $3 million. At this time in Kebede’s career, she was ranked #1 on models.com
In July 2007, with Kebede earning $2.5 million over the previous 12 months, Forbes named her eleventh in the list of the World’s 15 Top-Earning Supermodels. The following year, casting agent James Scully likened her to “an exotic Grace Kelly“.
In 2011, Kebede was among the models featured in Lacoste‘s “new look” campaign in January, a different advertising concept for the year, under the new tagline, “Unconventional Chic”. The ads were shot by Mert and Marcus, showing models wearing the iconic white Lacoste polo shirts worn over fancy black eveningwear.
Kebede is currently ranked on models.com icons list.
In 2013, Kebede was named one of Glamour‘s Women of the Year for her philanthropic work through her Liya Kebede Foundation.
Kebede launched Lemlem, a clothing line, in 2008. Lemlem, which means “to bloom” in Amharic, features hand-spun, woven and embroidered women and children’s clothing. Kebede founded the line to help preserve the art of traditional weaving in Ethiopia and to offer work opportunities to local artisans. Lemlem is sold at Barney’s, J.Crew, Net-a-Porter.com and numerous boutique shops. Kebede says she hopes this will be part a sea of change for her home country, saying that “It’s wonderful to be able to donate and help people”